Friday, May 30, 2008

How can I not help you 2 - The Blind and the Stupid

There’s a lot of bad customer service around. I even write about it every now and then. But I don’t think I can beat this. This story, printed in the Belfast Telegraph and filched by me without their permission, features my daughter, so obviously I’m not without a bit of bias with my opinions. But read the article and think on. And wonder how the person who “served” my daughter can do their job and sleep well after each day. The idiot.

For anyone who is blind or knows someone who is, then they will be familiar with the knowledge and having one’s cane lost, trampled on by a careless member of the public or just going knackered on you through wear and tear, is not just a matter of inconvenience, but literally of life of death. Their justification is that if they were to sell Carly a cane of the wrong size, she tripped (or whatever) and became injured and could/would sue them is plainly more important to them than allowing someone who is obviously blind to go wandering in the streets without any kind of symbolic protection let alone an essential guiding tool, when they plainly have the power to avoid that situation – and abuse it.

Some jobsworth has really had an attack of the stupids. Or can’tbearseds.

They really should not be doing their job as they plainly lack any sense of decency and humanity.

My former employer is truly going to pot when it puts their own liability over the real risk of a human being – someone, let’s remind ourselves, who they are in the unique position to serve, then don’t.

Can you imagine this scenario?:

"I'd like to buy a knife - a big one".
"Can't. You might use it to stab someone".
"But I'm a chef. I need it for my job".
"Can you prove you're a chef"?
"Yes, the big white chef's hat I'm wearing...".
"Is that the best you can do? Might be a fancy dress hat for all I know".
"Unlikely. Ha ha.'s my work badge with my restaurant's name printed on it, and my job title, Head Chef, and a wee photo".
"Sorry, still can't sell you one. And the man on the photo clearly has a moustache, whereas you...sir...don't".
"It was a fashion faux pas I'm afraid. Can't you see the little blood stain on my shirt".
"Oooh, you don't want to mention that to PC Plod. It might be kiddie blood. You can do down for that".
"It's from a dead cow which I cut up earlier. So you won't sell me a knife, even though I can see a big rack of Sabatiers over there".
"No, well now you come to mention it, yes I could, but you'll need to show me the knife you used".
"Difficult. It broke - that's why I'm here".
"But without your old broken knife as evidence, I can't, no, won't sell you a replacement. You might use it stab a poor innocent child, then come back and blame me for selling it to you. It's a knife-for-knife situation only I'm afraid".

and blah, blah, blah

Here's the article. (Full name of my daughter curtailed by me).

"I’m blind, but I can't get a white stick"

RNIB centre won’t sell Carly a new cane
Friday, May 30, 2008
By Emily Moulton
Blind people in Northern Ireland cannot buy white canes from the province's only resource centre because the charity does not provide training for its staff, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.
The revelation came to light after Ulster-born woman Carly M (21), who lost her cane en route to the airport from her home in Oxfordshire, tried to purchase a new one from the Royal National Institute of the Blind centre in Belfast earlier this week.
Miss M, who was born with a genetic condition called Leibers Congenital Amaurosis which made her blind, said she was told by staff at the centre that they could not sell her a cane unless she could provide proof of her old one.
She also claimed that after she explained how she lost her "stick" and what its measurements were, they still refused to sell her one saying it was not their "policy".

The RNIB is the only organisation which provides support for blind and partially sighted people in Northern Ireland. On its website it says its resource centre is where people "can try out or purchase the most cutting edge access technology, everyday living products, and a wide range of specialist equipment for blind and partially sighted people".

Miss M said she was shocked that she could not buy a cane which, she said, is essential for her mobility.
The 21-year-old, who had to leave Northern Ireland five years ago so she could study physiotherapy, usually has a guide dog but was unable to bring it with her on her visit back to Craigavon.

She explained she used her "stick" to navigate when she was travelling and was a little distressed when she discovered she had lost it — but thought she would be fine once she arrived because she would just be able to buy a new one.
"I just could not believe they could not sell me a stick," she said. "When I told them that I had lost it on my way over from England they said the only way they could get me one was if I showed them my old one. After I explained again and told them the measurements of my old cane they then said they did not have any.
"These people then said they could not sell me one because it was their company policy and said if they sold me one and it was the wrong measurements and I had an accident they would be liable.

"I have never been aware of any policy which says you can not sell a blind person a cane if they don't have their old one. When I got mine I just walked into the centre in London and they found me one. I just couldn't believe it. They were happy for me to leave and travel on my own unaided but they were not happy to risk selling me a stick which might have been two or three centimetres different."
Martin Walls, spokesman for the RNIB in Northern Ireland, said staff at the centre were unable to sell her a walking cane was because they lacked training — but in light of this issue the organisation was now re-looking at its policy.
"For RNIB, the safety of blind and partially sighted people using our products is a priority. We consider that mobility training is key to using a cane safely and RNIB does not currently provide this training in Northern Ireland.

"We don't therefore stock canes for sale in the resource centre and have to order in replacements where RNIB has supplied the original cane. We will however be looking at our policy in light of this as the needs of customers are paramount."

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